Tidbits from the Times we missed the first time around.
(Hey, can you think straight before sunrise?)
- Steve Lopez spanks the Governator for cutting mental health programs to save money, while preserving a tax break for yacht-buyers.
- Television newsman David Garcia, whose passion for the environment earned him the nickname "Earthman", died in Palm Desert at age 63. Obit by Jocelyn Stewart.
The name Earthman was a gift from KNBC weatherman Fritz Coleman. Garcia's story on the environment was scheduled to follow Coleman's weather report. Coleman joked that "Earthman" was soon to arrive, that he was pulling on his "green tights."
Garcia didn't wear green tights, but the moniker stayed with him.
"I ended up getting mail [at the station] from kids, and it would have no address on it, just the word 'Earthman,' " Garcia said in a 2002 article in the Business Press/California. "That really gave me a glow. I've found that kids learn the environmental issues a lot faster than their parents do."
- Tongans headed for Iraq tap into a cultural tradition of war chants. Tony Perry spends some time with the islanders.
Tonga has a relationship with the 1st Marine Division that stretches to World War II and the battle at Guadalcanal, where Tongans fought alongside Marines against the Japanese.
In late 2004, Tongans provided security at Camp Blue Diamond, the 1st Marine Division's headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq.
When insurgents managed to land crude missiles in the Blue Diamond grounds, the Tongans broke into a war dance to show that they were not afraid.
"Having a warrior background helps a lot," said Marine Sgt. George Moleni, 28.
- The guy who "drove home with a body hanging out of the back of his car" has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. William Heisel has details.
- Richard Alarcon withdraws the motion for a traffic scheme that could have benefited his wife, Steve Hymon reports.
- Veronique logs off!
(Well, that's big news for at least one of us...)
If the governor was looking for savings, he could have taken his scalpel to an estimated $45-million tax break for purchases of yachts, planes and RVs.
To find out just how the break works, I called a yacht company in Marina del Rey. A sales rep told me I would have to buy the boat outside of California, but there's a loophole available in that regard. Technically, he said, if I took ownership of the boat three miles off shore, I'd be out of the state.
In other words, if I wanted to buy a $100,000 sailboat, I would sign the contract at the shop in Marina del Rey and then navigate around the tax bite with a little vacation.
"We would effect delivery out of state, three miles out, with a hired skipper who would take you out," the salesman explained. If I then sailed down to Mexico for 90 days, I'd avoid the sales tax of $8,250.
That's roughly the cost, Van Horn told me, of keeping someone in the AB 2034 program for a year, if you count the matching Medi-Cal funds.